Best of the Web for Windows users - 30 October - 5 November 2016

Microsoft has announced plans to shrink down and speed up Windows 10 updates in the future. In this week’s roundup of news articles, you will learn how. Also, you will see that Microsoft’s web browsers continue to lose market share and the co mpany is releasing n ew tools for the business environment. Here’s what we have in store for you in terms of interesting news and tech articles:

Microsoft: the news of the week

These articles are this week's most important news in Microsoft's ecosystem:

Windows zero-day exploited by same group behind DNC hack - On Oct. 31, Google's Threat Analysis Group revealed a vulnerability in most versions of Windows that is actively being exploited by malware attacks. Terry Myerson, executive vice president of Microsoft's Windows and Devices group, acknowledged the exploit was being used actively by a sophisticated threat group - the same threat group involved in the hacks that led to the breach of data from the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign.

How Microsoft plans to shrink down and speed up Windows 10 updates - Microsoft has revealed a Unified Update Platform that’s designed to make it easier for devices to upgrade from one version of Windows 10 to another. The UUP encompasses a set of behind-the-scenes changes in Windows 10 that reduce the processing power needed to update, shrink the size of update files, and streamline updates on Windows smartphones.

Windows 10 Becomes “The New Windows 7” on Steam - Windows 10 is growing pretty slowly in the global desktop OS market, but as far as gaming is concerned, Microsoft’s latest operating system is doing way better, with the latest statistics provided by Valve showing continued growth every month.

Another 40M bolt from Microsoft's browsers - Net Applications pegged the combined user share of Internet Explorer (IE) and Edge at 28.4% for October, a fall of 2.3 percentage points. The month's decline was the second-largest ever for Microsoft's browsers, behind only May's plummet of 2.7 points.

Microsoft releases camera app update with new UI and Time lapse feature to non-Insiders - The update has previously been available to Windows 10 Insiders but has now percolated to regular users. It brings along some UI improvements and a new time-lapse feature, and takes the app to version 1021.11.

Microsoft Just Launched a Work-Chat App to Compete With Slack - The worst-kept secret in tech is out of the bag: After months of leaks and speculation, Microsoft has officially launched Microsoft Teams, a new work-chat app for its Office 365 suite across PCs, smartphones, and tablets.

Microsoft’s answer to IFTTT is now publicly available - After months of public testing, Microsoft has officially launched Flow, its app automation tool that rivals IFTTT and Zapier.

It's finally here: Skype Preview now offers SMS Relay for everyone - You can finally send all of your SMS and Skype messages from a single app. The bad news is that you'll need a Windows 10 Mobile device to do it, as it doesn't work with Android phones just yet (although Microsoft has confirmed that it will).

Xbox One consoles are getting support for BD-R and BD-RE re-writable Blu-ray discs - The Xbox One S is slated to pick up support for Blu-ray Disc Recordable (BD-R) and Blu-ray Disc Recordable Erasable (BD-RE) formats, joining 4K UHD as another reason Blu-ray enthusiasts should strongly consider the console.

Microsoft Research wants to bring high-quality, mobile VR to all of our devices - Microsoft’s work with the HoloLens and mixed reality is well known and often publicized, but the company’s focus on improving virtual reality experiences is less so. For years, its engineers and researchers have been developing different approaches to bring virtual reality to even the least-powerful mobile devices. And the team has done it again.

Cool tips and guides

We would like to share several tips and guides from other websites in the tech blogosphere:

The Amazon Echo Is What Makes Smarthome Worthwhile - The Amazon Echo and smarthome are a match made in heaven. Alone, both sets of products are fairly useless - but together, they are awesome.

How should we teach our kids to use digital media? - With the rapid pace at which new digital products and services are being developed, parents report feeling particularly overwhelmed. They fear missing out on what benefits tech might hold for their families, yet don’t fully trust that electronic devices and apps are designed or marketed with their child’s best interests in mind.

Where do laptops go when they die? - To learn a little about the kinds of things that can be done now and what stands in the way of doing more, Ars talked to Dell about its recycling efforts. Dell runs a take-back program for old devices in partnership with Goodwill, which sells anything worth selling and sends the rest on.

Digital Citizen: The best articles of the month

We would like to end with the most popular articles that were published on Digital Citizen, in October 2016:

7 Ways to change the volume on Windows devices and PCs - You have a tablet with Windows. Or maybe a laptop, a desktop computer or a hybrid device. This guide shows all the ways in which you can turn the sound volume lower or higher, using only controls that are built into Windows or your devices.

How to make Windows 10’s File Explorer start in any folder you want - A very useful guide for Windows 10 users who use File Explorer a lot.

The easiest way to legally download ISO images for Windows and Office - Sometimes, downloading disc images for Windows or Office, from Microsoft’s servers is more difficult than it should be. Here’s the easy way to perform such tasks.